Imposter! Fraud! You don’t belong!
These are the neon signs that I’m sure are flashing over my head from time to time. Well, more often than not, truth be told. Imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling that you’re not as good as you should be or as others might think you are. It’s that feeling that you’ve just somehow managed to skate by and pull the wool over everyone’s eyes for far too long. At any minute, though, the truth is bound to come out and a feeling of terror at the thought bubbles under the surface.
It’s exhausting trying to stay ahead of that impending disaster. The effort it takes to keep everyone from learning the truth is vast. How can I possibly be that good at covering this up for so long? Someone surely must see through this facade by now, right? Maybe if I’m just quiet enough over here in my corner no one will notice, and I can continue to slide by.
Have you ever felt that way? If you have, you’re not alone. I imagine you’re even in good company. I was thinking this morning about this. Maybe those of us with imposter syndrome need to start paying more attention to what others are saying instead of what they aren’t saying. Hear me out.
There are two areas of my life where I struggle to feel competent on a semi-regular basis. Singing and counseling. Sometimes I’m confident. Sometimes I’m not. I guess that’s probably normal, but I think the times when I’m not confident tend to shift way beyond typical doubts. I tend to tell myself I’m no good and that I have no business counseling anyone or being part of a worship team. But you know what? No one else tells me those things. In fact, others have told me quite the opposite. Others have complimented me on a job well done. Others have given me praise. Others have encouraged me and lifted me up.
So I started thinking, maybe I should believe them. Maybe I should start listening to what they are saying instead of what I’m saying to myself. And maybe, just maybe, I should think about this apparent facade. Maybe I’m not actually as good as I think I am at keeping up any charades. Maybe there isn’t anything to cover up. Maybe I’m just competent and doing a good job. Could it be?
Could it be that God has gifted me with talents and abilities that I’m just too insecure to see? I wonder what would happen if I started listening to what others have to say and started ignoring all those doubting and self-defeating thoughts that surf through my mind so often. What if God is just waiting on me to acknowledge what He’s already done so that He can do more? Maybe my own self-doubt is really what’s holding me back and God’s just waiting to bless my efforts as soon as I will allow Him the opportunity.
I think too often we put limits on God that aren’t really there. Our finite minds can’t comprehend a God with infinite power and creativity. The truth is, He has carried me through so many situations I never thought I could handle. He has given me abilities that I didn’t know I possessed. He’s already shown me, but still, I go on in unbelief. How much more must He do for me before I will finally trust and believe? How much easier and more peaceful would life be if I just had more faith?
“Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mk 9:24)